Belo: During a live performance at the FIAF

Belo has the momentum, and he is unstoppable!!! His EXPLOSION on the international arena is now happening, just about half a decade since he decided to take on this music career. There is nothing supernatural about his success, since most of us Haitians always try to give a supernatural explanation to anything that seems to surpass our limited intelligence or intellect.

His latest album REFERENCE, from what I could gather, was officially distributed in the United States by this distribution company called MI-5. I also found out that its promotion has been a success. This guy is not sleeping; he is on a mission. He on tour all over the world -Canada, the US, Algeria, France, Brazil, etc… -promoting the Haitian culture.

Belo is exposing our culture to the world community not because he is Jean Belony Murat, but because he has a product that is being marketed perfectly well. I had said it before, and I am going to say it again –marketing is everything. This is the discipline that can make or break your business, regardless how great your product is.

Let me explain to you how eminent marketing is for business success. Take two products –product A and product B. Product A is lousily manufactured but has a well-defined marketing strategy. Product B, on the other hand, is perfectly manufactured but has an awful marketing strategy. Product A has a greater chance than product B to make it in the market and be successful. That’s what marketing does. It has the ability to play in the psychology of the consumers to make them accept a product with initially no chance to make it.

I hope the people in the Konpa business can learn a thing or two from Belo as to what he is doing and how he is doing it. The man surrounds himself with skilled people, people who know what they are doing, how can you expect him not to breakthrough? Keep bathing in mediocrity and tell me how far it will get you. I have been telling you all along that mediocrity will not take us anywhere.

Most people in the Kompa business believe in the idiocy that our Kompa music cannot gain steam in the international market because of the language in which we sing; our Creole is the ultimate scapegoat. What a ridiculous argument!!!

I could have been making that same nonsensical argument had I not witnessed with my own naked eyes the impact of Raggamuffin music or Dancehall Reggae on both the South Korean and Japanese societies. Mind you, these societies are very conservative and reluctant when it comes to being receptive to foreign cultural tendencies.

During my time in the US Army, I had the privilege to be stationed for about two years in South Korea and Japan. When I and my friends would go to Korean- and Japanese-owned clubs outside the military installations, the Koreans and the Japanese, who may not even know anything about what Beenie Man and Buju Banton are saying in their songs, would just go crazy on the dance floor bouncing nonstop to the beats until the party is over. The young Koreans and Japanese would buy, sing and dance Ragga Muffin –a music that is not only culturally foreign to them but also sung in a language they cannot even come close to comprehend. So don’t tell me it is the language. There is something the Jamaicans have been doing that we are not doing. And I know what that is. It is called MARKETING. These guys know how to get their music out to the world.

Belo has been in this music business for not even a decade, yet he is taking the world market by storm. He is out there, folks. He is picking up steam and momentum. He is not singing in any language other than Creole for the most part, has that stopped him from being popular and going international? Has that stopped him from winning the RFI prize? The answer to both questions is… HELL NO!!!!!!!

It is not the language in which an artist sings that can make or break that artist; it is, rather, how well of a job they do in marketing their music. So stop blaming the Creole language for everything and anything that is not working with our music. The language is far from being the reason why our Konpa Direk cannot cross certain market boundaries.

We must not be producing music to cater to only the Haitian market, a market with only 8 million consumers. Our market is too narrow as it is, and the purchasing power of the consumers is already too minced. Any musician who aspires to make it big in this music business needs to go after other markets –for example, the American, the Asian and the European markets. Keep in mind that you don’t enter these markets with no preparation whatsoever to compete. If you do not sit down to do your homework prior to your entry, you are wasting your valuable time and resources. In these market environments, competition is fierce. Only the best survive.

Music is meant to be a lucrative endeavor; therefore, we must not be making music to be counting peanuts. Belo, be the Manuel of Jacques Roumain’s novel Gouverneur de la Rosee for our music so that you can show them how it’s done.

4 comments on “BELO: SHOW THEM HOW IT’S DONE

  1. Hi! I agree with what you say! As a matter of fact, anything concerning our culture lacks of a good market plan: our food, our artists…that makes me question: do we appreciate it enough to market it well? In other words: do we really believe in ourselves? (haitian people)…

  2. You make perfect sense, Joanie. To answer your questions, I would say NO. We have not been pushing ourselves hard enough to really market the beauty of our culture. Could it be that we don’t believe in ourselves and our potentials? It could be that. Like I said in the piece, we need to learn to be and stay open to the global market. In other words, we need to start thinking big and dreaming big. Our narrowness of mind and vision will not take us anywhere. We have been doing it for years. I think it is time to break ties with the things that are not working in our best advantage to embrace the ones that are.

  3. Belo is by far the best haitian artist out there (in terms of those who sing, rap in creole)

    I am looking forward to the day when he takes a social role because i believe he can help the youth in reaching their dreams and goals.

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